Written By Shalomdee
“No…” She struggled to restrain him from removing her clothes.
“If you do this with me , we would be one . ” He said to her , “Baby J , I can ’ t live without you and you said the same of me . I know right now I have nothing to offer you but I will work hard to make sure we both achieve our dreams . I cannot concentrate if you are not by my side , I want you to come stay with me in Lafia where I have gotten some work to do . With time when I have saved I will come pay your bride price so you can officially become my wife . What do you say to that ?”
“I can ’ t go to stay with you in Lafia, it ’s not proper. My mum and family members will frown at it. If you want to marry me , let ’ s do it properly . We will have a church wedding and we would invite all our mates to witness it. ”
“We will have a wedding quite okay, but for now we can still be together. ”
“As what , Pam ? As what ?” There was anger in her tone , for a brief moment she thought of what Planang had said and foresaw he wanted to crush her bright hope .
“As lovers . Many lovers do it nowadays , it ’s not something strange . You said you loved me , maybe your love is not as strong as mine because I can do anything for you but you can ’ t . You think I am a loafer like your friend said , right ? No problem . ”
“It ’ s not the way you see it, Pam . What about my family ?” Her voice was pleading and he caught the desperation in it .
“Look , I put you first above my family and I can say ‘ to hell with any body that does not accept you ’ . See, you need to have this die hard mentality , people will not always accept your worldview . You cannot please everyone , can you ?”
Jane started to think about what he was saying but knew it will take a lot on her part . What would all her mates think of her when they got to know ? They would be so disappointed . He started to kiss her on her neck till she finally succumbed to his will .
When Jane came back from her reverie, she was shedding hot tears, it wet the pillow and ran down the tip of the blanket. She was such a fool to have let herself be deceived by a good for nothing man who only added pains in her life .
She looked down at Junior sleeping peacefully. His body heaved up and down as he breathed. All over him was spelt innocence and calm . She would have left him with his father to cope , but could not for several reasons . His father would never care for him better than she would and she did not want Junior becoming like his dad in character. Already he bore striking resemblance to his father much to her annoyance . But she loved him all the same. Sometimes she felt as though her life would have been easier without a child to make demands , Junior seemed to be so addicted to her breast that even in his sleep he sucked an invincible breast . When he was awake he always wanted her attention and cried over every minute issue . She knew if her father were still alive, he would advice her to leave the child with his father so she could go on and get a better future, a future her ex almost truncated .
Her ex , it was funny when she thought of the word ex. Fancy her chatting with her friends and saying “my ex ”. She pronounced the word to feel how it would sound in her own mouth and she thought it sounded superb not weird as she thought it would . She thought about her education , how will she further her education with Junior by her side and who will pay for her tuition ? Her mother had sworn not to take her back if she came crying but excluding that she learnt from her aunt that her mother was now heavily indebted from all the money she had borrowed to pay her school fees in a prestigious school.
Thunder struck and almost immediately rain started falling . Jane smiled as she heard the sound of rain , it was soothing and ever since she was a child she always thought it was God ’ s way of telling her it would be alright. She listened intently as the raindrops hit the zinc outside , it sounded like the drums beaten during presentations by Sabon Rai . They gradually slowed to a soft pelting , that was when she took out her dairy and began to write . Aside talking to her son , this was another escape mechanism that helped her cope in her abusive relationship though the latter was more dangerous and might have caused her serious beatings .
A week after Jane had come back to Jos , she went to see her mother to apologise for her wrongs . She was accompanied by Aunt Gloria who assisted in carrying the child and also pleaded on behalf of Jane.
“When a baby bites a mother’ s Tip , she slaps the baby but does not hamper him from sucking her milk . ” Aunt Gloria was pleading, she wore a blue buba and Junior was huddled up at her side . He was dressed in his fine overall jeans with a white shirt inside and his eyes were fixed on his grandmother who could not help looking his way .
“Jane has wronged us all, but we cannot continue to bark over the disgrace she caused us . We have to forgive her especially as she has asked for pardon . Let us pardon her and give her and this child another opportunity . ”
Mama Jane spat on the ground , she was sitting on the veranda outside her house . Other neighbours had withdrawn to give them privacy but some inquisitive ones pretended to be busy so they could eavesdrop . “ Pardon her? Pardon her you say? There is nothing to pardon in this matter . My neighbours will bear me witness- they are around” , She stretched her hands to point at the neighbours outside who by now were feigning serious activities. “They were here when Jane and I use to disturb the compound . I will run around with a cane in my hand trying to correct this girl, shouting at her at the same time about the dangers of premarital sex and that that good for nothing boy was only trying to destroy her future. Haba , at least she would have been ashamed to follow him so that our neighbours will not mock us .
“Was it not you , Gloria , who came all the way from your house when I told you the rubbish decision she had made? You came in a haste to try and talk sense into her brain to dissuade her from making the most wrong decision of her life , ama ina, this foolish girl did not listen . Bro Davou even suggested we call the police to lock up the boy for inviting her over but we all agreed the accusation will be baseless . This is a girl I suffered to train in school, I borrowed money from my cooperative societies just to pay her school fees . Had I known I would have put her in a public school, what a waste. ” She sneered at Jane.
“Ah-ah , ah -ah, she is not a waste. All is not lost ”. Said Aunt Gloria .
“This one , can she ever amount to anything again ? With a baby to feed and take care of? The only good thing she can do for herself is to fry yams in the evenings and take sewing classes in the mornings. ” Mama Jane said turning her face to face the door.
Aunt Gloria made a signal to Jane so she could take up the plead . Jane knelt down on the ground . “ Mummy please I am sorry , please I am really sorry . I don ’ t know what came over me , I wish I could erase my mistake . Every bit of what I did makes me feel terribly bad that I cry over and over at the thought of how I followed that boy . ”
Mama Jane hissed and adjusted her wrapper . She refused to look in the direction of Jane. “Even if I forgive you , you will still disappoint me again . It is written all over you . You cannot control your body when a man comes near you . ”
“If you give me another chance I will be a good child. I will not bring shame to you again . I have learnt my lesson. ” Jane said in between tears .
“Mama Jane, please forgive her . You can see she is really sorry . We are all human and we make mistakes . Forgive her and support her so she can make us proud tomorrow. Dan Allah . ”
They continued pleading till Mama Jane could no longer decline . She told them to enter the house . When they all entered she used her wrapper to dry the little tears that had been forming which she had been suppressing . “Kai ” . She exclaimed before standing up to enter the house too.
Jane’ s mother worked in the State Government as a Civil Servant . Though she was a senior worker, her salary was not regular . Sometimes three months will pass before she would receive one month ’ s salary which was not always complete . Strikes even made things worse as the government will refuse to pay the workers for the months they were striking . In order to survive these months of no salary she had to borrow and pay when she received her own salary . Hers was a hard knock life . Even then she was still better off than most people who had no jobs at all. Her husband , Jane’ s father , had also been a civil servant who died as a result of sickness . His hard earned savings were used to conduct his burial.
To be continued
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